- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Britney bolts rehab

Oops, she did it again.

Britney Spears left a live-in rehabilitation facility early yesterday, shortly after checking in, Associated Press reports.

It was the second time in days that Miss Spears entered a rehab facility and checked out within hours. Entertainment TV shows and Web sites reported Friday that Miss Spears had gone in and out of rehab last week.

The television newsmagazine “The Insider” initially reported that Miss Spears walked out of the Promises rehabilitation center in Malibu, Calif. She called a car service and left the facility early yesterday morning, “The Insider” said. Hours later, the TV show “Extra” and the celebrity Web site TMZ.com said Miss Spears left the center far short of the usual 45-day stay. TMZ said the star couldn’t handle rehab and went home.

Eddie Michaels, a spokesman for the public relations agency that handles Promises, said he had no comment. He would not confirm that Miss Spears had been there or that she had left. Miss Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph, did not return calls about her reported departure.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old singer — who last weekend shocked fans by shaving her head — reportedly said she did so because she had head lice, thisislondon.co.uk reported yesterday.

Jacko sued

The family of a woman who died two years ago is suing Michael Jackson and a hospital, claiming the gravely ill patient was moved to make room for the pop star when he arrived with flu symptoms.

According to AP, the complaint — claiming abuse of celebrity status — was filed against Mr. Jackson and Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, Calif., on Feb. 15, the second anniversary of the death of Manuela Gomez Ruiz, 73.

The family previously had complained that Miss Ruiz, who had suffered a heart attack and was on life support, was moved suddenly to make way for Mr. Jackson, whose Feb. 15, 2005, admission to the hospital caused cancellation of a court session in his child-molestation trial. Miss Ruiz suffered a second heart attack and died later that day.

“Manuela Ruiz was dying,” family attorney James McKiernan said in his complaint. “Michael Jackson was also dying … dying not to go to court that day.”

Short takes

• In Manhattan, rapper-actor Busta Rhymes (real name Trevor Smith) on Tuesday nixed a prosecutor’s offer of six months in jail on two assault charges, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. He is considering a judge’s deal that would allow him to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and remain free.

• On a lighter note, Paris Hilton’s 26th birthday party at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino reportedly was an A-lister dud, says the Philadelphia Daily News, citing a story in the New York Post.

“There were no names there except for Nicky Hilton and Nicole Richie,” an unnamed source told the newspaper’s Page Six column.

That didn’t mean guests couldn’t have fun. After downing assorted libations, Miss Hilton reportedly played with a monkey while, reports Page Six, “a band of midgets led a pack of goats around the room.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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